China is flexing its muscles everywhere. From diplomacy (West Philippine Sea claims), to science (planned lunar landings), military (building up stealth planes), sports (vying for Olympics supremacy) and now to beauty pageants. With its rise, comes the inevitable - the right of China to exercise the power of money. And that applies even to beauty pageants. Whether the rise of China in the world of pageantry legitimate or not is really a matter of understanding of what are the circumstances surrounding its placement in a certain Big4 pageant.
Here's something that the readers should judge for themselves.
Zhou Meng Ting at Miss Earth is the only Chinese that made it to the semis of Miss Earth. She was also awarded with Best in Talent (photo above, extreme left).
At Miss International, China boasts 3 semifinalists: Wang Chan in 2003, Sun Yue in 2004 and Chen Qian in 2006. In 2008 Chang Wei Liu became 3rd runner-up (photo above, extreme left) and in 2010 it landed its highest placement at the pageant finishing as 2nd runner-up courtesy of Yuan Siyi (photo below).
Miss World proved to be China's forte. The successive 4th runner-up finish of the country in 2001 (Bing Li) and 2002 (Wu Ying Na) may have elicited the Chinese interest on the pageant such that it hosted Miss World in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2010 and 2011.
Whether it was a ploy to lure the Chinese or it was indeed a legitimate placement for China remains debatable. What is certain is that Miss World has developed a special relationship with the communist country - a country that was averse to the pageantry world a decade earlier. No other pageant proved to be more welcoming for Chinese beauty than Miss World. In 2003 China was 2nd runner-up (Guan Qi) and a semifinalist in 2004 ( Yang Jin). Now, everyone should know that China won the crown in 2007 and 2011 and in both instances were held in the country. In 2007, Zilin Zhang was hailed as a worthy winner but the 2011 winner Wenxia Yu was proved controversial.
Bing Li (left) and Wu Ying Na (right) may ushered the Chinese interest on Miss World
At Miss Universe, China was less successful but it debuted with a 2nd runner-up finish in 2002 thanks to Zhou Ling. The country is making great strides at the pageant especially last year when Zilin Luo finished as 4th runner-up. The latter was not without any controversy. A judge was photographed together with Zilin and her National Director Yue-Sai Kan in a courtesy visit. Bowing to the demands of the public that such visit to a judge prior to the contest was unethical, Miss Universe booted out the judge. With the huge money of Yue-Sai Kan, China is poised to deliver the best contestant to Miss Universe. The 2012 winner was not promising but don't underestimate the power of transformation. Hint: an American makeover specialist advised Zilin to look and act less Chinese.
(in inset) The first time it hosted Miss World, China became 2nd runner-up
First time China participated at Miss Universe
Zilin Luo is setting the new Chinese standards